Caring for Both Internal and External Customers in the Workplace
Our external customers are fairly obvious. The external customers for a fast food restaurant are the people that come in to buy a burger. My external customers were the credit card holders that called into our contact center for resolution of problems, or assistance with updating their accounts.
We do our best to take care of these people because they’re the ones that pay our salary. If we give them great customer service they’ll like doing business with us. If they like doing business with us, they’ll stick around for a long time. That’s what we want.
Internal CustomersOur internal customers, however, are more elusive. These are the people we work with on a daily basis. We don’t usually think of them as customers, but when we do, it can change our relationships for the better.
Some of my internal customers at the call center included team members, bosses, and even vendors. If I took care of these people with the same attention I gave to my external customers, it improved not only my experience, but the work environment in general.
For example, as a team lead, I did more than just quality check and run reports. In my mind it was important that I be a champion for the team members I was leading. I would go to bat for them any opportunity I got. This, I think, made them feel heard, and made them feel important. When someone feels heard and feels important they love you for it. This creates a great working environment.
My bosses were also one of my internal customers. My philosophy in working with management was, and is, that if you can make your boss look like a rockstar they’ll love you for it, and they will treat you very well. So I always try to make my boss look like a rockstar.
Even the vendors that work with our company or our internal customers. Take for instance, to the company that manages clean up of the break room. If I either created a spill or found a spill, I would quickly clean it up. My goal was that whoever was responsible for cleaning that break room would come in and think, “This shouldn’t take too long,” rather than thinking, “What a mess.” Now that employee probably would never know who cleaned up after the mess, but, frankly, that doesn’t matter to me.
Whether I get recognition for it or not is irrelevant. What matters is that someone else’s job was made easier.